Fertilizing Your Zoysia Grass and Bermuda Grass Lawn
Regular applications of fertilizer are an important part of achieving a beautiful, healthy lawn. However, many lawn enthusiasts do not know how to properly apply fertilizer. Misinformation can lead to over fertilization of your Zoysia grass and Bermuda grass lawn. Thus wasting time, money, and valuable natural resources.
When to fertilize
In general, fertilizers are applied in two separate applications. The first being in mid-May, and the second by mid-July.
How much to use
Personal expectations, uses of the turf, and maintenance preferences will dictate how much fertilizer should be applied. The general rule of thumb in the amount of fertilizer to apply annually is not more than two pounds of Nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of turf. To determine how much fertilizer is required divide one (1) by the percent nitrogen in the bag (the percent nitrogen is the first number of the three number analysis on the bag. The percent of phosphorus and potassium are the other two numbers.) For example, to apply one pound of nitrogen to 1,000 square feet of grass using a fertilizer with the analysis of 20-5-10, simply divide 1 by 20 percent to get 5. Therefore, five pounds of the fertilizer will be needed to properly fertilize 1,000 square feet.
What type should be used
Fertilizers are available in a wide variety of analysis and choosing the correct fertilizer for your lawn can be confusing. Select a complete fertilizer specifically formulated for warm season turf grass. If none are available, then choose a turf grass fertilizer that has at least one fourth of the nitrogen being supplied from slowly available nitrogen sources. These sources include sulfur-coated urea, w.i.n. (which stands for “water-insoluble nitrogen”) and ureaformaldyhyde.
Fertilizing is just one step to having a healthy, weed free lawn. Over fertilization can lead to excess growth that requires frequent mowing and increased danger of thatch build-up. Learning how to properly apply the correct amount of fertilizer to the lawn will save time and money. It will also help minimize the risk of fertilizer run-off polluting our streams, rivers, and lakes.
Lynn Loughary, LLoughar@oznet.ksu.edu
County Extension Agent, Horticulture
Wyandotte County, Kansas
Kansas State University Research and Extension